Most hourly employees are entitled to overtime pay for every hour worked over forty in a given week. The Massachusetts Overtime Act was passed to ensure that employers do not deny workers entitled to overtime pay this right. If you have worked over forty hours and your employer has not paid you overtime wages for those hours, you may be able to sue your employer.
The Overtime Act requires employers to pay certain employees overtime pay if they work more than forty hours in any given week. Even if an employee works twenty hours one week and sixty hours the next week, the employee must receive overtime pay for the sixty-hour week. However, if an employee works more than 8 hours in one day, that alone does not constitute overtime. Overtime hours are calculated by counting the total amount of hours worked in one week by one employee. Thus, employees do not automatically get overtime pay for working on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays, unless they work for more than 40 hours in the entire week.
Different rules, however, apply to retail employees. Retail employees are only entitled to overtime pay for work on New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, or Veterans Day.
“On call” employees who are not required to be at the office or work site during the on call hours cannot count the on call hours towards overtime. However, if the employee is actually called in to perform work, then those hours they work count in computing their weekly hours and will entitle them to overtime pay if they exceed forty hours worked in one week.
The overtime pay rate must be at least one and a half times the worker’s regular hourly wage. Bonuses, commissions, and other lump sum payments do not count towards overtime pay. Likewise, extra vacation days or personal days also cannot be substituted for overtime pay.
Employees who are entitled to overtime pay under the Overtime Act are generally employees who are paid by the hour, but there are certain exceptions. For example, a “bona fide executive or administrative or professional person” who earns more than $80 per week is not entitled to overtime pay. Other exceptions include outside salesmen and outside buyers, hotel and motel employees, gasoline station employees, agricultural laborers, seasonal employees, non-profit summer camp employees, hospital employees and amusement park employees, among others. However, some salaried employees are also entitled to overtime pay. The attorneys at Altman & Altman have extensive experience in employment law and in bringing unpaid overtime lawsuits. We can determine whether you are entitled to overtime pay based on your specific job title, and how best to proceed with a lawsuit against your employer.
Employees who win unpaid overtime lawsuits are entitled to treble damages, meaning three times the amount the employee should have earned in overtime pay. In addition, the employee is compensated for litigation costs and attorneys fees.
The Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division has the power to investigate violations of Massachusetts wage laws. If you believe your employer failed to pay you overtime pay, you need to file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office. This involves filling out a complaint form and providing documentation such as copies of your pay stubs, your employer’s vacation policy, and any additional information that supports your claim. The Attorney General’s Office may contact your employer and, in some cases, will file criminal charges against the employer.
The attorneys at Altman & Altman can help you fill out your complaint form, and can determine which documents you need to file in order to substantiate your claim. You should keep a detailed record of the hours you worked and the amounts your employer paid you. Any pay stubs, time cards, or paperwork from your employer that shows the hours you work or the amount you were paid can provide valuable evidence. We will review your situation, determine whether you were wrongfully denied overtime pay, and gather the necessary documentation and evidence to proceed with your case. We understand that even one week’s overtime pay is valuable, and we will act untiringly on your behalf to get you the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys are available 24/7 to speak with you regarding your case. Please contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation with a member of our team.